Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Responding to Muslim influence

please pardon this ramble from 2AM

I'm increasingly bothered by the continuing fuss (not debate) over the Cordoba House, a.k.a "the ground zero mosque". As I mentioned before, this is a particularly strong exhibition of irrationalist xenophobic nationalism. The irrationalism of this whole thing is emphasized with how much energy is being harnessed for ... nothing.

I say that there is no debate (and all the agitation is focused on irrational feelings) because nothing can be done about the Cordoba house. There is nothing illegal about building it, and there cannot be anything illegal about it because to do so would blatantly violate the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Their donors are very unlikely to back out of this project (though maybe if the donor list is made public, they can be intimidated). In other words, there is no legal way to force the Cordoba House to shut down. In spite of this, a bunch of people are making this into a political issue.

I'm figuring that the politicians are just demagogues who have decided that they can ride this non-issue to power. Other organizers are probably more concerned with creating an "us vs. them" mentality (and constructing mailing lists). In that way, it reminds me of the anti-war protests that were held on the eve of the Iraq invasion (after the decisions had been made and the elections completed).

Anyway, there seem to be two semi-reasonable concerns related to the construction of this "mosque", and the general increase of Muslim influence in America. First, there is concern that foreign terrorists will be able to blend into these American Muslim communities. Second, is that Muslims will become a political force in some places, as they apparently have in Europe, and start demanding that we change our ways in order to not offend their sensibilities.

Neither of these concerns are totally reasonable for the basic reason that my fears do not justify the infringement of other people's liberty. It applies to gun ownership, just as it does to religious movements.

This second issue ties into some of the plans being laid by opponents of the mosque. Over at Free Republic, there is a semi-serious proposal to perform various "anti-muslim" acts in the vicinity of the mosque, from opening a gay bar, to a pork factory. Of course, these proposals are meant to explicitly antagonize the Muslims, in retaliation for the perceived insult of building a mosque near ground zero.

But we could also approach them as an issue of setting boundaries. We want to make sure that the congregation here doesn't start to think that the area around the building is their private property and that they can dictate what others do there (whether promote homosexuality, serve alcohol, process pork, or wear skimpy clothing).

There may be some benefit in making it clear that they have to tolerate us just as we are willing to tolerate them. After all, despite all of their liberal platitudes, the people building this mosque have political views that are on the far right of the American culture wars.


Anonymous said...


Most local zoning laws in the US typically preclude anything like gay bars or strip clubs being opened within a given vicinity of churches or schools.

I'm not sure how what Greg Gutfeld is doing is any kind of test.

If Gutfeld was any kind of libertarian, as he claims, he might be more concerned about how anyone convicted of a "sex crime" in the US is being "legally zoned" out of the public sphere.

Fundamentalist Christianity and American Puritanism is much more of an issue than "islamic fundamentalism" in this country.

The "Freepers," who are all almost uniformly fundamentalist christians, would have a shit fit if some "leftist" made it a public campaign to open a "gay bar" next to a Christian church. They would cite the rule of law of "zoning laws" and the necessity of the public moral good.

What a bunch of freakin hypocrites...

Ricketson said...

"Most local zoning laws in the US typically preclude anything like gay bars or strip clubs being opened within a given vicinity of churches or schools."

Good point. However, I'm guessing that any such ordinance would focus on the "bar" rather than the "gay", so maybe a non-alcoholic dance hall would be pass. Unfortunately for Gutfield, I don't think that many gays would patronize a venue that was erected as a shrine to conservative intolerance.

"I'm not sure how what Greg Gutfeld is doing is any kind of test."

He's clearly trying to antagonize people. I was just bringing up his plan because liberals should think about how they will avoid losing ground (literally).

I also think that it is important for conservatives to fight their cultural battles in the cultural arena, rather than the legal/political arena.

"...Fundamentalist Christianity and American Puritanism is much more of an issue than "islamic fundamentalism" in this country."

The "Christian-ists" are definitely more of a threat to liberty than these advocates of Sharia, if only because of their greater numbers/power.

p.s. I originally linked to the wrong site to describe the Cordoba Initiative's views on Sharia law. The above link goes to the proper site.

Anonymous said...


I don't consider what you wrote a rant by any means; there is nothing to apologize for.

I certainly have no regard for Islam and view Wahhabist sunni Islam as an affront to liberalism; but, at the same time, I think western geo-politics bears quite a bit of the blame for the spread of Sharia fundamentalism. But it's not the United States that has to bear the burden of this, but the peoples of the middle east, northern africa, southern asia, etc.

It's a flat out joke that "Sharia Law" would ever be imposed on the West. If, say, in a hypothetical, the Muslim world were to gain ascendancy, they would probably do to us what we did to them. That is, they would stoke a particularly virulent strain of Christian fundamentalism in the West as a geopolitical strategy to control the West.

With the West's ascension, the West certainly never had a prayer to impose Christianity on the East or the muslim world. The same principle applies in the reverse.

If there is a "nefarious intent" of the muslim businessmen that is behind the NYC mosque, it's certainly not any grand strategy to use the Mosque as a stepping stone to spread the tentacles of Sharia Law in the United States. Rather it would be to further radicalize a chrisitian fundamentalist influence on politics and liberalism in the US. That would do...